One of the best trash compactors of 2021 will save crucial space in your garbage bin. Kitchen trash compactors are particularly great for large families and many models are either sleek enough to blend in with the other appliances in your kitchen or can be hidden behind a cabinet door. Trash compactors can also come as freestanding, under-the-counter, or convertible models, so there should be an option that’s just right for your home.
The volume of your trash is reduced using ram force and the best trash compactors can reduce trash to a fifth of its original size, meaning fewer trips to the curbside. By reducing the volume of your trash, you’ll also need to use fewer trash bags, cutting down the number that ends up in landfills. The ram force used in garbage compactors means you will need to purchase special, sturdier trash bags that can withstand the force without tearing. They do tend to be more expensive than standard trash bags but you won’t need to use so many and some models also have recyclable paper options available.
While the best trash compactors can be a bit pricey, often sitting at around $1,500, there are some great budget trash compactors out there too starting at around $700 as well as plenty of mid-range options in between. The higher priced garbage compactors tend to have a sleeker design as well as nice-to-have features like odor control. While the best trash compactors are pricey, they are an investment and paying a bit more for great quality means your trash compactor is likely to last a lot longer than cheaper models.
If you’re looking to overhaul your kitchen appliances or even just upgrade the odd item, our round up of the best French door refrigerators could be a great way to help you really get the most out of your kitchen.
1. KitchenAid KTTS505ESS Trash Compactor: Best trash compactor overall
With high attention to detail, stylish design, and a host of non-essential but nice-to-have features, the KitchenAid Trash Compactor is a premium appliance with the price-tag to match. While some might hesitate at the $1,500 price, if you’ve just splashed out for a nice new kitchen, it could be the finishing touch.
If you select the Solid Pack Control option, this compactor can reduce the volume of your trash by up to 80%, while also keeping bad smells at bay with an odor control system. While the fan from this system can be a little on the loud side sometimes, even with the noise reduction system, the quality of the build and effectiveness of this trash compactor more than makes up for it.
Finished to a high standard, the KitchenAid KTTS505ESS Trash Compactor has a stainless steel finish and features satin textured handles which will look fantastic inside any modern kitchen.
2. Whirlpool GC900QPPB Trash Compactor: Best value trash compactor
Both portable and convertible, the Whirlpool GC900QPPB Trash Compactor is designed to be easily installed wherever it’s needed, whether kitchen, utility room, or garage. It’s about $500 cheaper than the KitchenAid Trash Compactor and includes fewer features as a result, but it still packs in more than other compactors at similar price points.
From hands-free drawer operation, thanks to the touch-toe pedal, and auto anti-jam, the features it includes are useful and more than nice-to-have. The appliance finish is also streamlined and stylish, maybe just a little short of premium-looking. While it can feel a little flimsy in areas, it’s a reliable trash compactor from a well-known brand that performs well and offers plenty of value for money.
3. Gladiator GACP15XXMG Trash Compactor: Best budget trash compactor
While the Gladiator Trash Compactor may be a little on the simple-side features-wise, it can reliably reduce your trash to a quarter of its original volume at a surprisingly low price-point. It’s a freestanding model, complete with casters for ease of movement and a standard one third HP motor. It’s not the most powerful compactor out there and doesn’t have any kind of extra power crush option, so it might struggle with some tougher trash items, but it’s still a reliable option.
It’s also not one of the better-looking options, but if you’re planning on tucking your trash compactor out of sight, that might not matter much to you. It’s also a good option if you’re thinking of trying a trash compactor for the first time, you’ll have an appliance that will do the job without having to splash too much cash.
4. GE UCG1680LSS Trash Compactor: Best trash compactor for easy use
GE is a well-known and highly-regarded brand and this trash compactor is a stylish option with some good features. Design-wise, it’s super streamlined. The sleek finish is complemented by a hidden control panel that sits nicely behind the compactor door. The controls are easy to use and quick operation is a breeze. The noise reduction system is another nice feature that you usually see limited to more premium models, but otherwise, it feels a little short on features.
With a three-to-one compaction ratio, it’s also less powerful than other models in this guide and it can sometimes feel like it just doesn’t crush enough to justify the $1,000 price tag. It can sometimes be on the noisy-side, even with the noise reduction system. It is a reliable option, but the lack of power at this price point is a downside.
- Read our GE UCG1680LSS Trash Compactor review
Things to consider before buying a trash compactor
Before looking at any trash compactors, measure the area you plan to store yours. Most models are of the under-counter variety, although there are freestanding compactors. You can also buy a portable trash compactor you can wheel to messes in your yard, vehicle, garage, or elsewhere, then return to the place you typically keep it.
One important consideration is the compaction ratio. A ratio of four-to-one means the machine can crush the average volume of four bags into the size of one. That means more trash taking up less space. However, it also means the bags are heavier, so you need to consider what you can lift.
Many good-quality models have a toe bar – a switch on the bottom that opens the compactor when you push it with your foot. When you're holding trash to toss, this small feature can make a big difference. It's also great to get a trash compactor that includes an air freshener system or charcoal filter to cut down on odors.
How do you clean a trash compactor?
Cleaning your trash compactor is a good way to keep it odor free. And cleaning it isn’t difficult – just make sure you unplug it before you begin.
First, remove the trash bag and the drawer from the cabinet. Using a vacuum, suck up any loose crumbs or debris in the trash collector. You can then use a mild cleaner and warm water to wipe down the inside, outside, and the drawer. You don’t need to use harsh chemicals. Antibacterial soap or cleaner works well enough. We do recommend wearing protective gloves while cleaning.
Before replacing the drawer and putting in a new trash bag, make sure every part has fully dried. This will cut down on mold and additional unpleasant smells popping up. If your trash compactor cabinet is wood, you can use a wood cleaner or polish on the outside. If it has a metal or stainless steel finish, you can find appliance cleaner at your local grocery store that will help remove fingerprints and other smudges.